With just 47 days before it's football time in Tennessee, the Vols took center stage Tuesday afternoon at SEC Media Days.
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Coach Butch Jones was joined by three key players: linebacker AJ Johnson, defensive end Curt Maggitt, and center Mack Crowder.
They are three veterans on a very young football team, which Jones still hopes can improve upon a 5-and-7 season last year.
"Well, year two is great and our players now understand the standard, the expectations within our football program. Everyone's familiar with everything, for us as a coaching staff having been through an entire SEC season. The players had had too much change and so now to have that consistency in our football program, we've really been benefited by that," said Jones.
The Vols will be a young team this year, especially on the defensive side of the football. Specifically on the front line.
It helps to have All-SEC senior linebacker A.J. Johnson, who pondered entering the NFL Draft.
Johnson admitted his decision to stay with the Volunteers was one of the toughest he's ever had to make. He said he "came to Tennessee to be a winner" and that's what he intends to do. The senior hopes to lead Tennessee to its first winning record since 2009.
Then there's Curt Maggitt, a hybrid linebacker and defensive end who missed all of last season. He's counting the days until he can take the field at Neyland Stadium.
"I remember when there was a hundred, time goes fast. We won't have a day to miss. That motivates me every day in the weight room, we're doing extra work, we're watching film. I know time goes fast and the season comes by fast and the season will be gone before you know it.," said Maggitt.
Johnson is looking forward to having Maggitt on the field with him this year.
"Curt's gonna help us a lot, he's gonna get pressure on the quarterback, he's playing D end. It's a big role, he didn't get to play last season and he helped us a lot. We're gonna be able to have his field play and all his leadership with us this year so it's gonna be a great ride," said Johnson.
Bristol native Mark Crowder, who entertained ESPN with a rendition of Rocky Top, will anchor the Vol's new crop of offensive lineman as center.
There's also a quarterback battle between Justin Worley and Joshua Dobbs, who both received extensive playing time last season.
10Sports Director Nick Carboni is at SEC Media Days. You can get the very latest from him on twitter:
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